~ Dennis Upkins, author of Hollowstone
This is the fourth book by talented author, Ankhesen Mié. No, I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend and business partner; she is talented. The Woman From Cheshire Avenue (a book I lovingly renamed Chessy Ave), isn’t a book for the faint of heart. I did not know what the book was about when I first read it, and I admit to feeling like I’d been smacked across the face. Once I got my equilibrium, I enjoyed the story. It’s dark and different, and as a fellow goth writer, I can respect and appreciate it.
Ankhesen’s latest effort gives readers a sneak peek into a place that they may not want to see. Chessy Ave introduces us to a violent, murderous Neo-Nazi named Eric who has identity issues and a conflicted, tortured soul. Let me reiterate: Eric is a Neo-Nazi and he rolls with Neo-Nazis, and therefore readers will be privy to language, thoughts, words and deeds that are not warm and fuzzy. Consider yourself warned.
Chessy Ave focuses on Eric and his encounters and dealings with Lilith Wells, a beautiful black woman who is so way out of his league that she is the Sun to his Pluto. But just like that tiny former planet, Eric can’t help but be sucked into Lilith’s orbit, and the two embark on an unlikely relationship. Lilith is also conflicted and struggles with her self-worth and something in her responds to Eric, regardless of whom he thinks he is.
However, Eric and his wanna-be ruthless gang of Aryans actually run upon some real villains, the Hirosawas. They are a family of beautiful murderers and they do not fuck around when it comes to business. The Hirosawas are a mysterious faction; a family united in blood, loyalty, and money, and when orders come down from “above,” they are meticulously followed without question. They operate in darkness and shadows and are an intriguing lot, and they hover over the second half of Chessy Ave like an enormous, fat black spider. Michael Hirosawa, an elegant, classy, sexy-as-hell homicidal maniac, is the black sheep of the family, but not in the way one might think. Because of his connections in the community of Cherrywood, and because of Lilith’s background, Michael is not happy with Lilith’s relationship with Eric.
Chessy Ave is a collection of individual, dark components that Ankh starts weaving together, and by the end, readers get a brief impression that she is creating something unusual, but may not be entirely sure what it is. Chessy Ave is actually part of a larger work, and the story will continue in The Velvet Hall, the sequel. I look forward to reading more about the Hirosawas (especially fine-ass Michael), and all of the chicanery and tomfoolery that will definitely ensue as a result of their presence in Cherrywood.
My gripe with Chessy Ave? It’s too short.
~ Amaya Radjani, author of Corruption
Dear Ms. Mié,
Why the hell didn't you send this to me, LOL? I'm always looking for books that push the envelope, books that make me say "damn, I wish I'd written this"! Seriously, The Woman from Cheshire Avenue was one of the most AWESOME books I have read all year and frankly, I'm getting pretty envious at Middle Child Press. It's not the fact that you made a neo-Nazi into a character I came to care about, nor was it the fact that Lilith had the kind of class, balls and sass that I don't see too often in a lot of books. It's not even the fact that Michael Hirosawa and his family of scary, yet elegant criminals reminded me of some of the best Japanese crime dramas--it's how you managed to pack so much action and emotion in a mere 90-something pages. And that's another thing--you have left me chomping at the bit and I am not happy, LOL.
You could have taken the easier route and made Eric Quisling (is it just me who gets the joke about his last name) a poor-misunderstood-comes-from-a-broken-home type. Instead, you made him complex and on one hand his behavior horrified me (as it should have). On the other, to see him brought literally to his knees by an elegant black woman who faced him head on (and kissed him--I LOVED that part), just seemed so fitting. And what can I say about Lilith Wells? Like all of your characters, she's wonderfully complex--both brave and flawed. Every page was like unwrapping all the various and sundry layers of her being. Again, how you managed this in a scant 90-something pages speaks volumes to how well you have mastered the craft of writing. There are authors who need entire trilogies to do what you do with the kind of chracters--outsiders all--in a novella. Even Madison, the standard hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold, manages to transcend that tiresome trope to become a character I really liked (and usually a black hooker makes me face-palm). You didn't spare the violence, the rage, the ugliness but you did all of these aspects with a practiced hand.
The Woman from Cheshire Avenue reads like a Kurosawa meets Truffault meets Beineix meets Fuqua film, and frankly it should be one (if Hollywood had any sense). It's Cornell Woolrich and Chester Himes on steroids! To say I loved this, is the understatement of the decade. Bravo!
~ Kymberlyn Reed, Acqusitions Editor for Parker Publishing